The Mane Is The Bane

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The video above of a Lion’s mane jellyfish in Killary, Damien Haberlin shows what swimmers in the North Channel face.

The the primary season for channel swimmers and the Lion’s Mane coinciding in late July and August, swimmers face encountering the dreaded jellyfish.

Nuala Moore explains its presence among channel swimmers. “The smaller ones Lion’s Mane come onto the surface and when the sun is shining. When there is a lot of heat, they drop lower in the water. When it is a cloudy day, they tend to be on or near the surface, maybe in search of heat and light.

When is it a warm day, they tend to drop lower in the water. But as swimmers know by the length of the tentacles, they could be as low as 10 feet [below the surface of the water] and their tentacles can [still] drift to the surface.

They are easier to avoid in calm water as their tentacles are light, but when there is waves or turbulent water, their tentacles are all over the place moving. The movement of the boats and the swimmers can cause many breakages. They are very thread-like and very silky so they move easy.

Many people think it is wise to scoop them, but their tentacles break very easily and the toxins stay live in their broken tentacles. If you try and scoop them out of the way, you can actually do more damage because the tentacles float free and swimmers get stung anyway. The structure of the tentacles show how swimmers can get stung in the mouth etc without actually seeing any jellyfish.

Often if there are 3 or 4 large ones in one location, their tentacles get intermeshed together like a spider’s web; they are the impossible ones

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association